Lennox Road primed for Tumut assault

Lennox Road.

The Tumbarumba-owned Lennox Road is ready and raring for the 1000m Benchmark 50 Handicap at Tumut Turf Club on Saturday according to his trainer, Russell Steiner. 

“He is probably a better horse than that race and he should be hard to beat,” Steiner said. 

“He is feeling good and he has come on nicely from his last run and I think he will go alright.”

The eight-year-old finished down the track at Tumut on Derby Day, after getting in an early speed battle with Quideem before knocking up and finishing ninth, beaten 4.81 lengths in the 1200m Benchmark 58 Handicap. 

“He had a month off and came back and was in work for seven weeks ahead of that race,” Steiner said.

“We just told Wardy (Brendan Ward) to take a sit behind them if they went forward but he moved up three-wide and being first-up, it told in the last furlong.

“Considering the work he was made to do, it was a pretty good run. He is back feeling pretty good now.”

While Lennox Road is a track specialist, winning twice at Tumut for his former trainer Graham Byatt, Steiner is yet to prepare a winner on the Southern Districts track.

“My dad (Ron Steiner) has trained a winner there, but I haven’t had as much luck,” Steiner said.

“I used to ride at Tumut, but I haven’t trained a winner there and hopefully we can change that on Saturday.

“He just needs to draw a gate. Every time he goes around, he draws the outside and an inside gate would help.”

Steiner has been helping out Byatt and the Wagga trainer said Lennox Road would likely return to Byatt’s care following his Tumut run.

“I am helping Graham out after he broke his ankle,” Steiner said.

“He is back now and he has four or five horses in work and we are at the same stable and he helps me when my riders are away and helps with my work.

“After Tumut, I think Graham will take him back but we will see what happens.”

The Tumut surface has been knocked about by rain in recent weeks, with the club abandoning their November 7 meeting, and there is some concern they won’t be able to race on Saturday. 

Accordingly, Steiner has also nominated Lennox Road for an 1100m Benchmark 50 Handicap at Cowra on Saturday. 

“Tumut is the preference but I’ve nominated him for Cowra just in case Tumut don’t run their meeting,” Steiner said.

Tumut Turf Club curator Kerry Weir said the course received 26mls of rain in Sunday afternoon’s downpour and joked that the course proper was a heavy 15 before stressing that the weather gods would need to be on the club’s side for them to be racing come Saturday. 

Racing fans and locals will be hoping the meeting proceeds, with the club hosting a Christmas Party Race Day, with tables and tickets already selling fast. 

With rain causing the postponement of Gundagai’s Hair of the Dog Cup meeting on Saturday, Tumut Turf Club look to have benefited, with 90 gallopers nominated for the club’s five-race program on Saturday. 

The 1400m Benchmark 50 Handicap proved the most popular race for trainers, with 25 runners nominated for the seven-furlong event. 

The 1200m Maiden Plate had 19 nominations, the 1000m Benchmark 50 Handicap had 18 nominations and the 1200m Benchmark 50 Handicap at 17 nominations. 

The weakest race on the card will likely be the 1000m Maiden Plate, but still, 11 gallopers have been entered and for the first time since the 2018/19, nominations were not extended for any race on the program.